Patriot Box Office Home Media Player

9.6 Overall Score

We begin this section of the review with detailed product specifications.  As mentioned earlier, the Box Office is very small.  Dimensions are comparable to an internal optical drive such as a Blu Ray drive or a DVD/RW drive.  At 1.2lbs, it is very light.  The size and weight make this media player an easy fit in any home entertainment center.

The Box Office is a full 1080P HD media player with Dobly Digital and DTS surround sound capabilities.  Of course, proper media is required to take advantage of the Box Office.  Again, you can expand the storage of the device, internally, by using a SATA HDD or SSD.  Playback via network streaming is also available on this media player.  We did not have a 2.5″ SATA drive on hand, so we could not fully test the unit’s networking capabilities, but we will add that to this review in the coming weeks.  On a side note, while we are talking about video streaming, this is where we run into one of our only gripes with the Patriot Box Office.

Playing High Definition content properly over a network, would require gigabit networking.  The Box Office has a 10/100 network controller which does allow for HD content streaming, but you are severely limited in playback quality with such a low bitrate.  In addition to the subpar networking, we would like to talk about the requirement of having a 2.5″ internal drive in order to enable network access to your home computer.  You can not stream video, audio or pictures over your home network to the Box Office without that internal drive (or at least we could not get it to work).  It would have been reasonable for this feature to be added without the requirement of an internal storage drive, or Patriot could include a 16GB or 32GB SSD to eliminate this drawback.

That being said, you can get around these two issues by using a USB external storage drive, or by using a Network Attached Storage device such as the Valkyrie, also available from Patriot (we will have a full review on the Valkyrie in the coming weeks).  The Box Office has two standard USB ports and one mini-USB port.  Our unit would not recognize files if we used the back USB port, but we had no problems with the front USB port. At 480Mbps, USB 2.0 is fast enough to stream full HD to the Box Office.

The supported video, audio and image formats list is huge.  This is the highlight of the Box Office, in our opinion.  Unlike some other media players, you are not restricted to one or two types of video or audio formats.  Here is a list of all the supported file types:

Video formats

  • MPEG-1: MPG/MPEG/DAT up to 1080P
  • MPEG-2: MPG/MPEG/VOB/IFO/TS/TP/M2TS up to 1080P
  • MPEG-4: MP4/AVI/MOV up to 1080P
  • DivX 3/4/5/6 & Xvid: AVI/MKV up to 1080P
  • H.264 & AVC:TS/AVI/MKV/MOV/M2TS up to 1080P
  • Real Video 8/9/10: RM/RMVP up to 720P
  • FLV, WMV0 and ISO up to 1080P

Yes, that is correct.  Box Office reads ISO files for DVD’s and Blu Ray discs.

Audio formats

  • Dolby Digital AC3, DTS
  • MPEG-I Layer 1/2/3, MPEG-II Layer 1/2
  • Real Audio, AAC, WMA, LPCM
  • HDMI Raw, S/PDIF Raw
  • WAV, OGG, FLAC

Image formats

  • JPEG, BMP, PNG

The image formats could be a little more inclusive, but for the average user, the list is excellent.

Connecting the Box Office to your home entertainment center is as easy as connecting a Blu Ray player.  Once the unit is powered on, you are greated with this screen:

This is the main navigation screen where you can access the Browser, File Copy or Setup screens.  In order to do a file copy you need an internal storage drive.  The Browser is self explanatory.  In the image below, you can see what the browser looks like and how the data is arranged.

The Setup page has all the configuration and controls you would need to adjust the Box Office to fit your needs.  In the Setup section, you can adjust screen resolutions, refresh rates, transitions for images and setup a wireless network.  Keep in mind that you may need to consult someone who is more technical than yourself with regards to setting up the Box Office properly.  There are many settings in the Setup section that could confuse an end user and accessing your home network can be a pain, if you don not know what you are doing.

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